Jack is very amiable, he’s got charm but is a lonely character at the end of the day
Father Ted star Ardal O’Hanlon, 53, is back as detective Jack Mooney, in Death In Paradise. He chats to GEORGIA HUMPHREYS about the upcoming series
What can you tell us about series eight of Death In Paradise?
IT’S ambitious for sure. What I love about this series more than other series is the use of locations.
We’ve got some fantastic new locations – we shoot in the zoo in one episode which is great. The first episode, the murder takes place on a bus. The third episode is a lot of fun as well; a TV crew come over to make a holiday programme.
Is there anything loyal fans might be surprised by?
THIS series has definitely got a slightly darker tone. There are some really dynamic, very dramatic scenes, something you wouldn’t associate with Death In Paradise.
It’s got all the normal Death In Paradise ingredients, but it’s got this other dimension as well.
There’s also kind of a love story which is explored in episodes five and six.
What do you enjoy most about playing Jack?
I SUPPOSE what I like about it is the fact that (it’s also the thing I like least about it) I’m so busy, because he’s in pretty much every scene. You get to play a real range – you’ve got to be very hard and very serious and very assertive, and the next scene might be very soft and emotional, then you’ll be playing quite a funny scene.
Jack is very amiable – he’s got a certain charm about him, he’s got a little twinkle in his eye. But he’s a lonely character at the end of the day, and there’s a sadness about him, and I really enjoy playing that.
Ben Miller and Kris Marshall previously played the lead in the show. Do you feel more settled in the role now?
DEFINITELY. Partly because I know what to expect from the very tough environment that we work in, with the heat and the humidity, not to mention the crazy weather and the creatures that you have to contend with.
It’s a challenging environment. This year, I know how to manage my time well and my energy, how to live in a place like that.
What sort of reception have you had from fans?
AH yeah, people are generally very supportive, and people who I never imagined in a million years would be Death In Paradise fans out themselves! They seem to really cherish it... I hope they’re happy enough with me! I mean, I avoid social media, I avoid press and reviews and press coverage of it. Ugh! You’d lose your sanity if you got too bogged down in that.
So you haven’t got used to being in the limelight over the years...
NEVER really got used to it. I love the craft, I love the process, I love the preparation, I love the performance; above all I love the sociability of it, working with other actors and directors.
But I don’t think a normal human being ever gets used to the other side of it, the attention, or anything like that. I’ve never actively sought that out, and I’ve avoided it if I could. It’s never been particularly unpleasant or anything, you just want to live as normal a life as possible.
What do you miss while filming away in Guadeloupe?
SOUP. It’s too hot to eat soup! Obviously I miss my family hugely [he has three children with wife Melanie], although they do come out for quite a chunk, and I’m in daily contact with them.
I miss things like bookshops. I miss the cinema. I miss TV. I miss my friends. I miss the dogs. There’s a lot to miss, but you’re so busy and you’re so consumed by the jobs.
In the same way as Jack has to solve a puzzle, I have to solve a puzzle every day: ‘How do I play this scene? How do I tell this story?’. So you’ve got so much to be getting on with that you don’t really have time to pine!
How do you like to relax?
I DO cherish my downtime and I love it. Obviously, it’s social – you’ve got a crew of maybe 70 or 80 Brits abroad – it’s fun! You’ve also got the guest cast coming in which is a lot of fun as well.
I love the sea, so I love snorkelling, swimming with turtles. I also love the rainforest, which we’re spoilt with as well.
Every weekend, you discover a new and wonderful magnificent waterfall hidden in the jungle with beautiful natural cool water that you can swim in, and cool down in. So, all that side of it is brilliant.
■ Death in Paradise is on BBC1 on Thursday at 9pm.
You’ve got a crew of maybe 70 or 80 Brits abroad – it’s fun! You’ve also got the guest cast coming in which is a lot of fun as well.
Left: Ardal O’Hanlon says he’s adapted to fiming in the climate of Guadeloupe. Above: With the rest of the show’s cast